On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an anti-discrimination executive order titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” 

The president’s executive order read, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”

The executive order makes no specific claim about enforcement, but the order has influenced Senate Republicans to reintroduce a bill called “The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.” The bill seeks to discriminate against trans athletes saying, “in athletics, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

The co-sponsors include Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), James Langford (R-Oklahoma) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).

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“These groups don’t care about sports or women’s rights,” said ACLU transgender rights advocate Chase Strangio in a statement during the bill’s original introduction in September 2020. “They’re opportunistically looking for ways to attack trans people, and in the process, hurting all women and girls.”

Critics of the GOP bill have been quick to assert that the executive order seeks to protect against discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity, which is legal in 17 states. 

Expert consensus on trans-athletes assert that, especially in K-12 education, an athlete should be allowed to play in their affirmed gender.

The Transgender Law & Policy Institute Guidelines for Creating Policies for Transgender Children in Recreational Sports, says, “All young people should have the opportunity to play recreational sports and have their personal dignity respected.”

The guidelines continue that “because transgender young people often must overcome significant stigma and challenges, it would be particularly harmful to exclude them from the significant physical, mental and social benefits that young people gain by playing recreational sports. The impact of such discrimination can be severe and can cause lifelong harm. In contrast, permitting transgender children and youth to participate in recreational sports in their affirmed gender can provide an enormous boost to their self-confidence and self-esteem and provide them with positive experiences that will help them in all other areas of their lives.”

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